definition of solidarity

It is known with the term of solidarity to that feeling or also considered by many a value, through which people feel and recognize united and sharing the same obligations, interests and ideals and also forming one of the fundamental pillars on which they are it establishes modern ethics.At the request of Sociology, the term solidarity enjoys a special participation in this context , being, as we said, a feeling that supposes the unity of the social ties that will unite the members of a given society.

In this way it is said that an action is solidary when it is aimed at satisfying the needs of others and not one's own. Thus, the idea of ​​solidarity expresses support for an outside cause. In this sense, it is a type of help or collaboration that is preceded by a feeling of empathy for the circumstances of others.

Solidarity can be understood from an individual and collective perspective and, on the other hand, as a sociological phenomenon related to the moral dimension of the human being.

The individual plane

If someone makes the decision to help another person or a group in need, they are taking an altruistic and generous action, since they give up a part of their money or their time to allocate it to those who need it most. There are many ways to carry out this type of action: through a simple handout, working as a volunteer in a social entity, sending an amount of money to an NGO or making a significant financial donation such as that made by some philanthropists.

The sociological plane

The French sociologist Emil Durkheim made a distinction between mechanical and organic solidarity. The first refers to the collaboration of primitive clans, in which individuals establish community ties and collective feelings that promote mutual aid. Mechanical solidarity, on the other hand, is typical of complex societies and is carried out between individuals who are not similar but who have significant differences.

Some evaluations about the concept

The concept of solidarity reminds us that there is its opposite side, lack of solidarity. The two tendencies are part of the human condition and sometimes occur at the same time, for example in war (war itself implies the destruction of the opponent but in it altruistic and disinterested actions take place).

We find the idea of ​​solidarity in various contexts. Thus, in most religious traditions there are proposals related to solidarity (remember the compassion or charity of Christianity). If we place ourselves in the coordinates of ethical reflection, we find debates about the concept (for example, the discussion about altruism versus selfishness). On the other hand, in the very idea of ​​the state a sense of solidarity can be perceived (for example, actions promoted by the administration that aim to help the most disadvantaged).

In the news that appear in the media, the issue of solidarity is addressed quite frequently (the proposal to help the third world with 0.7% of national GDP or the refugee problem are two clear examples).

Although solidarity is an ethical value, it is sometimes carried out in a questionable way (for example, when the aid granted is more for image reasons and not as an authentic commitment).

Solidarity initially implies selfless help to others. However, there is a clear utility component to it. In fact, if we offer our generosity, we will feel better about ourselves and, therefore, we will win in some way.

Finally, solidarity is a logical consequence of the social dimension of the human being. In this sense, we have the natural impulse to satisfy our needs but at the same time we feel empathy for others and this feeling is the origin of solidarity action.

Photos: iStock - Cylon / Miroslav_1

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